In the shadow of the incredible night before. That evening was plagued by triple-digit heat index, this show by lightning. But the tour was so solid that even the lesser few shows of the 11 July dates are above average. The previous night has a few crazy-good sequences; this night is all over the map (though still July '89 qual). The Neville Brothers guest from Drums though the end.
First Set. First things first: a Mexican Hat Dance for show teaser. It works: Feel Like a Stranger blasts everything wide. The next couple are well-played/no fireworks, but Jack-a-Roe is astonishing. There is some confusion at the end of Masterpiece as the storm breaks and the rain intensifies. During the next break, Healey's effects added to Jer's mic are missing from the 24-track. The rain became so intense that rushing water was rolling down the stands during Tennessee Jed ("you know you bound to wind up wet"), a not-rare example of Dead weather-defiance-magic. Music Never Stopped goes uptempo in the storm, like they are trying to wrap up the set. Maybe Jer isn't happy to leave it there: he launches a Dough Knees, but smoothness is still lacking.
Second Set. Foolish Heart is above average, the 5th go at Just a Little Light is the second good one and a recommended version if you haven't appreciated this yet. Playing is very good - even if the Playin' jam isn't a best-of-tour. A perfectly stadium-sized Drums is backwards: it starts at the weirdest point and then decompresses before Space (as the Nevilles opt-in). Iko Iko has too many cooks. All Along the Watchtower is better on the 24-track because it is mixed for Jer's guitar, whereas the AUDs show that he was actually low in the mix, front-of-house. The set peak is the Morning Dew. These were monumental, cathartic events in '89, and this is one of the year's top ones. Bobby tries to lead a stadium-sized Sugar Mag rocker, but gives a monotone delivery. His approach in trying to capture 80k people is quite different from Jer's balladeering style in Knockin' on Heaven's Door, where he has everybody in his palm (and gives the Nevilles a piece).
1st Set: B- 2nd Set: B-
Overall = 3½ stars
Feel Like a Stranger - wide burst
Jack-a-Roe - astonishing
Tennessee Jed - bound to wind up wet
Just a Little Light - one of best examples
Morning Dew - monuments erected
SOURCES: The 138792_UltraMatrixSBD is the updated, completed SBD. It speeds up slightly at Playing and needs -1% pitch through the end. All SBDs are mic-matrix and most run fast (as do the AUDs). It's usually up on YouTube, with the 2nd set in poor quality, and the 1st set a little better. The official release is a 24-track mixdown. The back nine of Uncle John's is on Infrared Roses (titled Riverside Rhapsody).